Close to Retirement? Get Ready to Submit Your Social Security Application Online
To cut costs, and in anticipation of the 80 million baby boomers who will be applying for Social Security retirement benefits in the next 20 years, the Social Security Administration is ramping up it’s website and online services.
If you haven’t been to www.socialsecurity.gov lately, you should stop by for a visit. In addition to a design makeover, the site is also more user-friendly with the top requested services listed right on the front page for easy access.
What Can You Do Online?
One of the services you’ll see is the ability to submit your Social Security Application online. While most people go to the SSA website to apply for retirement benefits, that’s not the only thing you can do right on the website. Here are just a few things you can do online at the Social Security website:
- Apply for Social Security retirement, spousal or disability benefits
- Request a replacement Social Security card
- Sign up for Medicare, or request help with your Medicare prescription drug costs
- Appeal a decision (if you were denied disability benefits, for example)
- Estimate your future retirement benefits with the Social Security calculator
- Change your address or telephone number
- Research popular baby names
- And much more…
Why Should You Submit Your Social Security Application Online?
If you’re one of the 10,000 baby boomers that are expected to retire each day between now and 2029, here are some reasons why you’ll want to submit your Social Security application online:
- The online retirement application can be completed in as little as 15 minutes,
- You can apply for benefits from the comfort of your own home, and
- No need to drive to your closest Social Security office or stand in a long line.
How to Apply for Social Security Benefits Online
You can submit your Social Security application online if you are at least 61 years and 9 months old and you live in the United States or one of it’s territories and you are not currently receiving benefits on your own record. You also must not have already applied for benefits already.
Note that the SSA cannot process your application if you file for benefits for more than four months in advance, so don’t apply until and want your benefits to start no later than 4 months in the future.
It’s also important to know that if you are within 4 months of reaching age 65, you will automatically be signed up for Medicare when you submit your Social Security application online.
To start your online application, simply go to www.socialsecurity.gov and click on “Apply for retirement benefits” (there are also links to apply for disability benefits and Medicare benefits if that’s your goal).
After you click on the Apply for Retirement button, you’ll be taken through a series of questions about yourself, your work and your family. The whole process takes about 15 minutes, and in most cases once you click submit you’re done (no need to mail in your application, the whole process is done online).
After you submit your Social Security application online, the SSA will review your application and contact you if more information is needed or if they need to see any documentation.
In addition to applying for benefits for yourself, you can also help a friend, family member or neighbor submit their Social Security application online, however for privacy purposes, you’ll need to complete an extra step or two. If your family member or neighbor is with you when you are applying for them, simply select the button on the first page that says ” I am helping someone who wants to apply for benefits and is with me.” If the person is not present, please select the button that says “I am helping someone who is not with me, and therefore cannot sign the application at this time.” In the latter case, you will need to print the application and have the person sign before mailing it in.
For more information on how to submit your Social Security application online, please visit the official Social Security website at www.socialsecurity.gov.